Work injuries can unfortunately happen at any time throughout a worker’s experience in their field, regardless of who was at fault. There are many important steps to follow if you want to get the most out of your situation and possibly get the compensation you are entitled to.
What initial steps should I take after an injury takes place?
First of all, make an accident report. Whether you believe that you are injured or not, this is an important step to take because you may not realize that you have been injured until it is too late. There is a specific amount of time in which a worker to report an accident to be covered under workers’ compensation, depending on which state they reside. Even if you may not be injured, the report of the incident is useful because it can cause your employer to implement new safety measures to prevent an injury from happening to you or someone else in the future. Furthermore, it is important that you follow up to make sure that your employer has reported the incident to workers’ compensation as well.
The next step is to see a doctor for your specific injury, or even go to the emergency room if the injury warrants it. If you are not seriously injured, it is beneficial to ask your employer if they require you to see a certain doctor or if you are able to choose instead. If your employer chooses the doctor for you and you are not satisfied with the outcome of your visit, you may want to consider seeing another doctor. A second opinion can help even if it requires you to pay out of pocket for the visit when it comes to the workers’ compensation benefits you may receive at the end of the claim. Nobody wants to lose the benefits they should legally be entitled to. (1)
Lastly, you must request and complete a workers’ compensation claim form through your employer. An employer is legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees in case of injury. In the end, you may be entitled to benefits that you may not have known about if you hadn’t applied. There are four basic benefits normally covered:
- Medical Treatment: The insurance company should cover all bills for treatment reasonably required to cure or alleviate all effects caused by the injury sustained.
- Disability Payments: This is partial compensation for lost wages and is for if you are temporarily unable to work while recovering.
- Permanent Disability Settlement: This is for if the injury has caused permanent impairment or restrictions and is based off of the significance of the disability in terms of your compensation.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: This includes paid training in new employment if you can’t return to your usual job and the company has no alternative in place for modified work that you can do instead. (2)
All work injury cases are dependent on the state and details of the situation. After an accident in many states, you have approximately two years to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Also depending on the situation, you can claim these benefits even if the accident was your fault and not the fault of a co-worker or employer. It is important to know all of these details and put your trust into an attorney who knows what to do for you and your case. (3)